Solid fourth quarter helps Vols finish off the Eagles

Hebron Christian School's Gabe Harpole, left, drives to drive against Logan Roach and the Starkville Academy defense on Thursday night.
Hunter Cloud
Special to Daily Times Leader
Hustle, defense, fast tempo offense, and very animated coaches. 
All are ingredients for a great game and the Starkville Academy Volunteers and Hebron Christian Eagles delivered that great game up until the fourth quarter.
That's when the Vols blew open the game and went on to win 57-39.
Starkville Academy basketball coach Bruce Allsup said his teams ability to have better ball movement in the fourth quarter was the key to its ability to score 24 points in the final frame.
“We got the ball to the shooters,and the shooters were able to knock down shots,” Allsup said. “Our guys really responded in the fourth quarter. I told them to get off of your butts and play.”
The Vols got off to an early lead over Hebron in the first quarter by a score of 13-9. The game was quick, and the teams went wall-to-wall tempo.
The second quarter was much of the same as Starkville Academy and Hebron continued to battle it out offensively but also defensively as the Vols led the Eagles 24-19.
The third quarter was very intense as a Hebron player went flying into the crowd and the Starkville Academy defense matched the intensity of the coach’s animated reactions on the sidelines as it cut the deficit to 33-28. That same intensity continued to the final whistle and the Vols pulled out the win over Hebron and improved their record to 8-9.
Taylor Ray scored 23 points for Starkville Academy and Logan Roach added 13 points.
Allsup said that Hebron gave the Vols a very good challenge in the game with its intense defensive play style. He believed it also matched its coach Gary Vaughn.
“I was really impressed with Hebron and the intensity they played with (Thursday night),” Allsup said. “The team is going to play like their coaches, and that is what they did. We want ours to play like that too.”
While Allsup believes the team has much work to do in order to be ready for the District 2-AAA Tournament on February 5-8, but he still has his sights on the next game against Canton Academy tonight.
“We got a very good team coming in (tonight),” Allsup said. “We are going to have our best game (tonight) in order to have a chance to win because they are that good.”
Girls Game
Starkville Academy 57,
Hebron Christian 31
The Lady Volunteers screamed past the Lady Eagles in the second quarter, winning the game following an 18-point quarter that gave them a commanding lead in the game.
“It has been one the things I’ve been preaching on,” Allsup said. ”Our message has been to start each quarter with enthusiasm and a lot of effort to set the pace that we want and need in order to be successful.”
The game was close in the beginning as both struggled with keeping possession of the ball. However, Starkville Academy had a 13-5 lead over Hebron Christian after a quarter of play.
The second quarter proved to be much better for the Lady Vols as they dominated the game from that point onward, and defense was a key factor in that domination.
“We have been working really hard on our defensive effort,” Allsup said. “We couldn’t play a lot of zone this year because of our numbers. I felt like we need to play a lot more man to man in order to beat teams this year, so we have been working on that.”
While Starkville Academy had defense, the Lady Eagles had hustle, however what they didn’t have was the size to match the Lady Vols, who improved their record to 14-7.
While that had an impact on the game, Allsup said it was his three perimeter shooters who set Starkville Academy apart as it finished the third quarter up 47-27.
Mary Peyton Passons led the Lady Vols in scoring with 17 points, while Meri Laci Archer added 16 points and Lillee Alpe chipped in 13 points.